Facing the Future without Fear
By Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Bob Norton, 162nd Fighter Wing Chaplain's Office
/ Published July 22, 2008
TUCSON, Ariz. -- Fear....a common emotion. Is it possible to live without fear? Maybe not.
General George Patton said once, "Courage is fear that has said its prayers." I've heard people come back from combat saying, "I don't want to serve with someone who has no fear...a good healthy fear can enable us to make good decisions." So maybe we don't want to eliminate fear all together.
One spiritual leader said, "Fear God and fear not." In other words, awe and reverence toward God can enable us to live our lives without debilitating fear...the fear that keeps us from knowing a life abundant and full.
Some say, "I have good reasons to be fearful!" Our economic downturn or recession is causing more and more home foreclosures and bankruptcies. AIDS continues to claim the lives of millions worldwide. An unrelenting terrorism strikes fear in the hearts of many. Gang violence in our cities along with drugs and drive-by shootings stirs up our fears.
From an early age many fear abandonment. Some fear dieing. Many fear public speaking even more than dieing. And then there are many garden-variety phobias like heights and spiders....what's yours?
God has a better idea! He wants us to learn to live by faith instead of living by fear. From God's messengers the phrase "Fear not!" occurs 366 times in the Bible.
One fear not for every day of the year and even one for leap year thrown in. Unabated fear can cause hypervigilance and post traumatic stress disorder. We must have relief. FDR said in the throes of world conflict, "We have nothing to fear but fear itself." Fear itself can reduce us to a quivering bowl of jell-o or living out our days with every nerve standing at attention.
The Apostle Paul reflected on this subject while sitting on death row in the Roman Mamertine Prison and wrote, "Have no anxiety about anything, but pray about everything...with thanksgiving and the God of peace will be with you" (Philippians 4:6-8).
Paul had workable strategies for the best of times and the worst of times and he had found by experience that fear did not serve him well. He found...and we can too...that prayer enables us to step into the calm eye of the storm when the hurricane of life's difficulties is raging. We are to release our anxieties into the hands of God and exchange them for God's peace.
Film maker Oliver Stone used to have terrible nightmares about his combat experiences in Vietnam waking up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat. He had heard that Alfred Hitchcock dealt with his fears by making movies about the things which struck fear in his heart (i.e. "The Birds" etc.) So, Stone made the movie "Platoon" which helped him to work through his debilitating fears. Many of us can't make movies, but we can all pray and allow the God of peace to triumph in our chaotic minds.
Each UTA our faith groups meet for study, worship, and mutual encouragement. Come and learn how to live by faith and not by fear. These are your opportunities to gain insight into the abundant life God promises:
- Jewish Awareness Group - Saturday, 9:30 a.m. in the Chaplain's Office
- Protestant Worship Service - Saturday, noon in Classroom F of OPS
- Catholic Mass - Sunday, 8 a.m. in Classroom E of OPS
- LDS Study/Fellowship Group - Sunday, noon in Classroom F of OPS